The Illinois Divorce Process

In Illinois one must be a resident of Illinois for at least ninety (90) days to meet the jurisdictional requirements of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

The legal process of a divorce begins with filing a petition for dissolution of marriage and service of summons, and becomes final when a judgment for dissolution of marriage is entered. A judgment for dissolution of marriage is entered by the parties when they have reached a marital settlement agreement or by the judge in the event the matter proceeds to a trial.

Summons

A summons is a legal notice to the person of the legal action that is pending against them.

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The petition for dissolution of marriage must set forth the following legal requirements: the name, age, occupation, address and length of residence in Illinois for each party; the grounds for a divorce; the date of the marriage and where the marriage was registered; the names, ages and addresses of any children; and the specific relief requested by the Petitioner. Please be advised that every case is unique and accordingly, every petition for dissolution of marriage is different since no case is exactly alike.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

To obtain a divorce one must allege and prove grounds. The most common grounds for a divorce in Illinois include irreconcilable differences (no fault) and extreme and repeated mental cruelty (fault). Illinois statutes enumerate eleven (11) different fault grounds for a divorce. See 750 ILCS 5/401(a) (1). The requirements of irreconcilable differences are satisfied by showing the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years unless the parties are willing to waive the 2 year separation period which reduces the waiting period to 6 months. The grounds for a divorce have no bearing on the disposition of the marital property. As such, for this reason Illinois is considered a “no fault” state since it makes no difference in the outcome what grounds are used or who the offending party is. Typically, the most litigated issues in a divorce include: property distribution (who gets what property), child custody, visitation, child support and maintenance.

Please note that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is undergoing a significant overhaul in 2015. A bill has been recently passed by the Illinois Assembly General which will eliminate legal grounds for a divorce and replace the 2 year separation period with a 6 month waiting period.

Judgment of Dissolution

The legal process of a divorce becomes final when a judgment for dissolution of marriage is entered. A judgment for dissolution of marriage is entered by the parties when they have reached a marital settlement agreement or by the judge in the event the matter proceeds to a trial.

There are many benefits to entering into a settlement agreement rather than having your case decided by a judge. Entering into a settlement agreement enables both parties to control the final outcome of the divorce since they are the ones making the decision. Moreover, reaching a settlement agreement ensures predictability of the final outcome, reduces acrimony and saves money.

Complying with the Divorce Judgment

Once a judgment of dissolution of marriage is entered it is extremely important that you review the judgment and understand all of the terms and conditions contained therein. For Casey Nelson LLP's clients, within thirty days of entry of the judgment of dissolution we will schedule a consultation in order to review the terms of the judgment of the dissolution of marriage and to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions contained therein.

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Read more below about discovery during divorce litigation, temporary court orders pending the outcome of a divorce, and the enforcement or modification of divorce orders.

If you or your spouse has filed — or are considering filing — for divorce, Casey Nelson LLP welcomes you to learn about our divorce practice and to contact us for a complimentary initial consultation. We have decades of experience advising individuals facing divorce, including divorce involving complex or high asset property disputes and contested child custody matters. You do not have to face the divorce process alone.

Discovery

The discovery process is the process where the parties exchange the relevant information to the divorce. The Illinois Supreme Court Rules require full disclosure unless the information is privileged, confidential or if production creates an undue har… Read More

Temporary Orders

From time to time temporary orders may be entered which are intended to resolve issues prior to a final resolution in a divorce case. Temporary orders are limited to a specific time and may include the following: maintenance (alimony), child support,… Read More

Enforcement & Modification

Please be advised that all courts orders entered by a judge must be followed. It is imperative that you read and fully understand all orders entered in your case. The court has considerable discretion to enforce court orders. Read More

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